Navigation

Navigation

GPS Ailing and Failing?

Garmin Colorado 400C still better than a sextant even if the GPS is getting old ($599.99 MSRP; www.garmin.com)


There is growing concern that GPS performance may soon start to degrade, as the Air Force struggles to keep its constellation of aging satellites in operation.

It’s been more than 30 years since

The End of the GPS Monopoly?

Russian technicians fit a cluster of three Glonass satellites to a booster rocket.

Sometime in the last few years of the 20th century, a new term was added to the everyday vocabulary of ordinary Americans: GPS moved from James Bond movies to the dashboards of cars and trucks, the handlebars of motorcycles, and the backpacks of

Automatic Autopilot

John Redmond of Redmond Marine Electronics in Destin, Florida, does some pre-assembly in Betty Jane’s saloon.

Hand-steering my 1988 Grand Banks 32 Betty Jane for hundreds of miles down the eastern seaboard some years back qualifies me for a profound appreciation of autopilots. Certainly, the trip was physically onerous,

FLIR M-Series

FLIR’s methodical two-year entry into the recreational marine world has been a thing to behold. Both its products, the popular entry-level Navigators and powerful Voyagers, and they way they’ve been promoted, through demo cruises, technical seminars, and the creation of a devoted dealer network, have been impressive. But while all this was going on, FLIR was also

Si-Tex T-900 Series


Not all boaters, not even techy ones, enthusiastically embrace multifunction navigation electronics, let alone new-fangled solid-state radar. The conservative bullet points are, one, that several stand-alone devices will never leave a skipper completely functionless and two, that traditional magnetron-based marine radar is still being

MySiMON

While Fusion's super safe iPod dock is reassuring (see main story), there are increasing reasons to risk carrying one around on deck. On top of the iNavX and Navionics navigation apps for the iPod Touch and iPhone described last month, Palladium Technologies has developed an interface to its

Furuno FA-50

Furuno's FA-50 is also an unusual Class B AIS transponder. While every other model mentioned in this column, including the two Simrads, is based on a transceiver manufactured by the U.K. firm SRT, Furuno started from scratch, or rather from its experience as a major manufacturer of the Class A AIS

iNavX

You may have heard that Apple's new 3G iPhone includes a GPS but did you know that someone has already developed a good $50 marine navigation program for it? iNavX is the work of the same development team that built the well-regarded GPSNavX and MacENC charting programs, and it shows. It will not only plot your

Planar LX Mariner

Planar LX Mariner

The global display company Planar has entered the little marine world with quite a splash. Its three new LX Mariner touchscreen PC monitors—eight-, 12-, and 15-inch screens with prices ranging from $2,000 to $2,200—are bonded (no fogging), sunlight-viewable, and

ACR GlobalFix iPro

ACR GlobalFix iPro

ACR's new iPro GPS EPIRB earns its "next generation" marketing tag on three counts, the most obvious one being the reassuring and useful info shown on its one-inch digital display. When you self-test the unit, the screen delivers the results and even

Autopilot Garminized

Garmin's new pilot head is as stylishly informative as its multifunction instruments.

The 50-foot custom Wesmac Kathleen might have been a real autopilot challenge, what with her twin 585-hp Cummins MerCruiser QSM11 diesels powering brutish Hamilton HM422 waterjets and little below for directional stability beyond her

Bushnell ONIX 400

Bushnell ONIX 400

Bushnell's Onix 400 mapping GPS is designed primarily for hikers, but I'm not the only boater to notice its ability to deliver both XM Satellite Weather and Radio in a form portable enough to also go on the water, in the car, etc. Unfortunately the weather data it displays is a limited subset of what's available

Time Zero, Live

MaxSea's Iker and Brice Pryzo demo the Time Zero software they developed with Furuno.

"You must see it on water, where the technology and boat come together as one; it's so real!" exclaimed Brice Pryzo, his long arms flailing to overcome his strong French accent and mime the magnificence of his Time Zero navigation software. We

Furuno SC-30 Satellite Compass

Furuno SC-30 Satellite Compass

Furuno's new SC-30 can sense a boat's sea motion (pitch, roll, and heave) and relationship to Earth—i.e. position, heading, COG, SOG, and ROT (rate of turn). And it feels all that with astonishing accuracy and speed, as I witnessed at least in part (see "

Jeppesen Marine Nobeltec Max Pro

Jeppesen Marine Nobeltec Max Pro

When Jeppesen Marine took C-Map under its wing early last year, a much-anticipated consequence was the melding of Nobeltec navigation software (NSS) with C-Map’s top-of-the-line Max Pro cartography. They’re here and forever memorialized in new product names VNS Max Pro and Admiral Max Pro, priced

Pocket Navigation

If Mae West were alive, her famously bawdy trademark line might go like this: "Hello there, sailor. Is that a WAAS GPS AIO PND loaded with a continent's worth of nautical, street, topo, and photo cartography and several hundred thousand POIs in your pocket...or are you just happy to see me?" To which a sorry geek like me might squeak back, "Pardon, Ms. West, no time for flirting; I've got gadgets

Navionics HotMaps Explorer

Navionics HotMaps Explorer

If you’ve ever taken a plotter—handheld or otherwise—onto lakes, you probably know how inconsistent (sometimes nonexistent) freshwater mapping is. And you shouldn’t hesitate to try HotMaps Explorer, a $20 teaser product consisting of Fugawi’s full-featured PC planning program along with

Raymarine SmartPilot X Series

Raymarine SmartPilot X Series

Raymarine is refreshing its entire autopilot line into the SmartPilot X (SPX) Series. All SPX course computers include rate gyros for better performance and use SeaTalkNG (a.k.a. STng or NMEA 2000) interfacing for easier installation and sensor sharing. The primary ST70 control head matches the nifty

Real-World AIS

Recent reports about the 25-foot sailboat Ouzo being run down in the English Channel by the P&O ferry Pride of Bilbao highlight the fact that we pleasureboat operators have to see the big guys because they are probably not going to see us. But what happens in rain squalls and big seas when a ship may be blocked from your view?

FLIR Voyager

Flir Voyager

FLIR has added active stabilization to its $74,999 Voyager camera, but what's truly noteworthy is its integrated use of dual thermal cameras. Each has only 320x240 pixels of resolution and lacks optical zoom—typical for thermal cams of this class, most of which are FLIR-built anyway—but one has a 20-degree

Managing the Waterway: Electronic Charts 2008

Managing The Waterway: Electronic Charts 2008

It may be an Intracoastal Waterway guide publisher, but the name Managing the Waterway doesn't do this company justice. Neither does the product title Electronic Charts 2008, even though this two-DVD set contains every single digital chart—more than 3,000—currently put out

Standard Horizon HX850S

Standard Horizon HX850S

Credit due: Uniden built the first handheld combination GPS/ VHF, but the Mystic was quite bulky and expensive and is now out of production. Standard Horizon's HX850S hopefully represents the first of a new, much more practical combo generation (at least Lowrance has another in the works). With a body about

Simrad NX40/45

Simrad NX40/45

Simrad is refreshing almost its entire product lineup in 2008. The major themes are the extended use of SimNet (a.k.a. NMEA 2000) and the "Simradization" of multifunction display technologies proven by other members of Navico's "family of brands." The $2,450 NX40 and $2,950 45 single-station MFDs closely resemble

Standard Horizon CPV555

Standard Horizon CPV555

Combine a top-the-line VHF radio with a competent chartplotter/fishfinder, and you get Standard Horizon's unusual and under-appreciated CPV series, which began with a seven-inch display and now also comes in this jumbo 12-inch unit. Given its considerable size you may not save any helm space, but man, you

Simrad AP 24 and AP 28

Simrad AP 28

Simrad's two new autopilot control heads, the AP 28 (above) and the smaller, knobless AP 24, may look like minor upgrades to the revered Simrad (Robertson) line, but there's a big change behind the scenes. Each head uses SimNet, a flavor of NMEA 2000, to communicate with one of two new SimNet-talking autopilot

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